Fifth in a series of Big River articles on the Army Corps Navigation Study.

Corps Scandal Simmers

By Reggie McLeod
From Big River July 2000

Controversy over the Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway Navigation System Feasibility Study (Navigation Study) has focused on efforts to reorganize the Corps. Three Republican senators are pushing legislation that would prevent the Corps from reorganizing. The Department of Defense attempted to create civilian control and more accountability in the Corps last spring.

At “River of Dreams,” a Corps sponsored “Mississippi River partnering conference and listening session,” June 15 to 17 in St. Louis, environmental groups refused to partner with the Corps until it is under civilian control and more accountable to the public. Protestors accused the Corps of acting on behalf of the shipping industry.

On June 20, ABC World News Tonight summarized the Navigation Study scandal and interviewed Donald Sweeney, the Corps economist who says his bosses told him to change economic data in the $54 million Navigation Study to support expanding the lock-and-dam system. ABC News claimed that in internal documents the Corps characterized itself as a proponent for the inland shipping system and warned that the Navigation Study should not include any “limp wristed” conclusions.

In June, Lt. Gen. Joe N. Ballard, the head of the Corps, postponed his retirement, including the scheduled parade and farewell luncheon, until later in the summer, according to the Washington Post (6-19-00).

The delay lessens the likelihood that the Clinton Administration will appoint Ballard’s successor.

Reggie McLeod is editor and publisher of Big River, an independent magazine about the Upper Mississippi River.

Copyright 2000, Big River

Subscription Information
Email Us
Big River Home

Army Corps Articles
Table of Contents
Calendar of Upper Mississippi Events
Big River Home
contact us
Big River is an independent magazine about the Upper Mississippi River. We are in our ninth year of publishing.

You can find Big River on newsstands and bookstores along the Upper Mississippi in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ilinois. Or, you can save money and become a subscriber to Big River - the magazine for people who work, live or play on the Upper Mississippi.